Rob Peeters reluctantly accepts Plzen disqualification
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rob Peeters reluctantly accepts Plzen disqualification

by Kyle Moore at 10:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Cyclocross
 
Pauwels bumps up to third behind team-mate Vantornout, struggles through long day

Rob PeetersIn a race of attrition on a muddy Plzen course in the Czech Republic on Sunday, riders slogged for more than an hour, while one of the biggest stories of the day became the disqualification of Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) after it was ruled that he went through the pits without properly stopping to make a bike change. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) soloed to the victory to take over the lead in the World Cup standings after previous leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) – winner of last Sunday’s event in Tabor – managed third in Plzen.

Albert took the victory by a fair distance over Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), a time gap made greater when Vantornout slowed up in the final stretches to seek the whereabouts of team-mate Pauwels. Once he saw that Peeters had passed him, Vantornout accelerated over the line, and Peeters gave a quick fist pump, assuming that he had secured the final podium position.

But when preliminary results failed to show the name of the Telenet-Fidea rider, and when he was quickly engaged in conversation with officials afterward, it became further apparent that Peeters would not be counted as the third place finisher – disqualified for riding through the pits without changing his bike.

Peeters cited a misunderstanding with his mechanics when he had pitted for a bike swap and initially could not understand the nature behind his disqualification. "I stepped off at the place where I thought my mechanics were, but I saw no one and carried on,” Peeters had commented afterward. “So that is a stop & go, something which is allowed, and so am I doing nothing against the rules; otherwise, why would I continue racing?”

But after studying video footage with the UCI, Peeters confirmed that he was in the wrong, having broken the rule that requires riders to touch down with two feet when using the pits.

“I am deeply disappointed,” Peeters affirmed. “At first I was one hundred percent sure that I had done a proper stop and go. Then they said that I only had one foot down, not two, and I began to have doubts. In that context, the images were clear. I did it with only one foot. It’s a pity, but so be it.

“It was a communication error, with my mechanics at a place other than what we had agreed. I naturally expected that they would be there, so I got off but then jumped back on. I did it the wrong way, as I know now. It’s too bad, because I rode a good race. I had good legs. I could have straightened out my off day last week in Tabor [when he failed to finish – ed.]. I lost my podium spot, which sucks.”

Second place finisher Vantornout has been sporting some good early season form. The Belgian was the only rider to challenge Albert after the world champion took off during the early laps.

“In the beginning, I could not accelerate, but I felt better and better,” Vantornout told Sporza. “At the end, I got within five seconds of Albert but I could not reach him. My results this season are impressive. I’m riding consistently and I feel strong.”

Pauwels took third after Peeters’ disqualification, after leading early on and pulling a selection clear of the rest of the field. He fought through a difficult day on the tough course, surrendering his spot to Peeters on the final lap due to mechanical trouble.

“I had a good start, but it was tough to keep going,” Pauwels remarked to Sporza afterward. “I knew I could not get to Albert, and on the steps, I had to let Vantornout go. At the end, I had to deal with a problem with my gearing mechanism, so I had a long way to walk. Luckily I was still third. Albert now has the jersey, but there is still much to be done.”

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